Peak District walk from Wildboarclogh up Shutlingsloe, Cheshire
This describes two short ascents of Shutlingsloe - 'the Cheshire Matterhorn' - one from Wildboarclough to the east, and a second from Langley on the Macclesfield side.
Shutlingsloe is not very high, but despite this it commands an excellent view over the western side of the Peak District and the Cheshire Plain. In fact you can see the Clwyd hills in North Wales on a clear day, as well as features like the enormous Mark 1 radio telescope at Jodrell Bank.
The description of the hill as the 'Matterhorn of Cheshire' is more than a little fanciful for this hill rises to a mere 506 metres, and is actually lower than the Cat and Fiddle Inn on the hillside opposite, but when you see the hill then the phrase appears more apt, for Shutlingsloe is steep-sided and rises to a shapely cone at the top.
The Wildboarclough approach is more open and also steeper. Start from the small Peak National Park car park at Clough House, just north of Wildboarclough village, and walk down the road towards the village for a short distance before taking a footpath which branches off to the right. Follow this around the hillside for nearly a kilometre, past the house called Banktop, until you meet a metaled road coming up the hillside, leading to Shutlingsloe Farm. Turn sharp right and follow this up the hill.
After approximately 200 metres take the path which diverges from the farm road and climbs directly towards the summit of the hill. This is steep going and the angle seems to increase as you get higher, but the view from the summit makes it well worth while. Because this is right on the edge of the Peak District you have an unimpeded view across Cheshire - Jodrell Bank is almost exactly due west, the hills around Beeston appear distantly just south of west and (right on the horizon) the Clwyd hills a little north of west. Macclesfield and Congleton appear north-west and south-west respectively, with the hill of Bosley Cloud rising above the latter, while to the south there is a most unusual view of The Roaches, which appears from this angle as a whaleback heather-covered ridge. On the eastern side the ground rises up to the high ridge of Axe Edge and Goyt's Moss with the Cat and Fiddle Inn perched on the crest and the road from Macclesfield winding up the hillside.
To make a circular walk continue down the other side of the hill towards Langley. This is easier-angled than the Wildboarclough side and is so popular that the path has mostly been paved. Follow it down just into the trees and then turn right almost immediately to join a forest track which winds northwards through the forest. After perhaps 500 metres a footpath branches off right at a bend in the track and makes its way through a firebreak in the forest to reach the forest edge and a cart track which runs along the boundary. After another 400 metres you arrive at a road junction on the tiny road to Macclesfield Forest at a spot known as Standing Stone - though you will struggle to find any of these.
Forest Chapel lies less than a kilometre away along the small road opposite, but the return route to the starting point of this walk lies down the small road to the right. Follow it downhill for 300 metres, where a footpath leads across the fields to your right taking you to a farm on the small road which follows Clough Brook down the valley. There is now no alternative but to walk down the road for the last kilometre to return to Clough House, but fortunately this is a quiet road and there are often skylarks, curlews and herons to be seen on the way.
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